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I’ve got a big old tube of gun bluing lying around in the basement and was thinking about trying it on a pair of new #2 duke traps that I picked up a few weeks ago. I was wondered if anyone had tried to blue their trap as opposed to dying them. I’d appreciate anyone’s thoughts on this idea.
Also, can you melt un-scented candles down and use them for waxing traps?? Our furnace gave up the ghost the first time we tried to turn it on this fall. It was 34 years old, so I’m not going to complain. With a new baby in the house, we can’t run the risk of it breaking down again. Money is going to be tight for a bit while we pay for the new furnace and I’m looking for ways to save a few $$$.:D

Thanks in advance for you’re replies.

-Michael
 

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Mich, I have been around this "trap preparation" corridor as a trapper in residence since 1952 - that just put me into the elder category of evidence at large.

Forget the gun blueing juice that you are entertaining to dye your two traps with.

Let me gather up a bit to look into my personal trapping library with regard to how I attend to this - I have leaked my measure on a couple of other trapper forums over the years. Okay?

How many traps do you want to dye, just two?

Jonathan
 

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Michael,

Never hear of anyone using gun bluing on traps. Maybe it would be OK, if you were going to just keep them as wall hangers.

Over the years the best trap dyeing ingredient I have found has been the green bark from a maple tree. Find a small maple that is growing in a low land area with a diameter of 4 or 5 inches.

Cut a 5' log from this small tree and shave the bark off of it and put it in a container of water and boil it with your traps. You will get a nice black coloring to your traps.

Good luck with the furnace.
 

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I’d be interested to know why I shouldn’t use the bluing. I was touching up the shotgun bluing in prep for the up coming duck season and wondered why it wouldn’t work on the traps. I only need to dye the two new traps. They were half off at a local gun shop and I couldn’t resist buying them. I mostly use conibears for raccoon and possum control up at the cabin and at deer camp. They sure can do a lot of damage to the fruit trees. I did pick up ½ dozen #2 coil spring traps late last year but they were already dyed and waxed. I am hoping to get my first fox/yote this year.
I just cut up a cedar tree for a few fence posts. Can I use its bark for dying or should I stick with maple?? Does species of maple matter any? :dizzy:
Thanks for the help!
-Michael
 

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Michael,

As far as why you should not use bluing on your new traps. Well, if all you want to do is turn the trap to a dark color, then it would be fine. But if you want to deodorize and color the trap for use as a canine trap, then it would be much better to stick to the use of maple bark or sumac berry pods to dye and deodorize your traps.

The best maple bark would be from a soft maple that grows in low wet areas.

Good Luck on your trapline!
 

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Michael,

David pinned it down pretty tight for you. Gun blueing is not a trap dye - period. End of the hunt!

Since 1952, I have used natural dyes - sumac berries and black walnut hulls in my trap preparations.

Thanks Dave for introducing me to the young maple bark option! Never thought of that - have used the leaves before.

If you do not have access to those "natural" dyes, there are products available from the major trapper supply dealers in the form of powders and crystals - usually billed as "Logwood" in some incarnation that will darken your traps.

Dave, you are old enough to remember the genuine Logwood Chips, I am sure. They are extinct now as far as I can tell.

Anyway, Michael, pick your coloring agent for your traps beyond that used for guns. You will sleep better.

Regards,

Jonathan
 

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07NEWBIE,

You will be surprised by the relatively small amount of maple bark you will need to create a really dark black dye. The bark shaved from a green 4 inch diameter five foot long soft maple log, which you add to 15 gallons of water in a galvanized garbage can will easily produce enough dye to treat dozens and dozens of traps!

If you are going to use Sumac berries, then it might be a good idea to put them in some type of mesh bag to help contain them and to reduce the amount of material that will cling to your traps. But with maple bark this is not normally a problem, because the strips of bark will stay at the bottom of your boiling container, once you weigh them down with your traps.

Walnut hulls are also a very effective material to produce a trap dye, but my first choice is the soft maple bark.

Be sure to keep a close eye on the boiling traps to make sure that they are always covered with water. Boiling the traps for 30 minutes is plenty long enough to get the job done. So don't leave the boiling traps unattended, because if the water should boil dry, then you will ruin your traps by taking all the temper out of your springs.

Good Luck on your trapline!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Can you give any estimates of volume of bark and/or berries needed to dye 1/2 dozen and 1 dozen traps? I have a small 2-3 gallon stockpot that I plan on using for dying. The garage and shed are pretty full and I am trying to save on space. Next year, I'll have to do some cleaning out and upgrade to a bigger container.

Thanks,

-Michael
 

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Michael,

I recommend using the bark from a fresh cut young maple sapling, rather than the Sumac berries, because you will get a much better dye job (nice and black).

Surprisingly, it does not take a great amount of this maple bark to get a good dye. Just shave off enough bark to cover the bottom of your container, say 1/2 inch deep.

I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised with the results!

Good Luck on your upcoming trapline!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Dave-

I tried the maple bark this weekend and it turned out pretty good. Looks like I am going to be using maple bark for some time to come. I have a few questions (if you don't mind) to help me do a better job of dying next year. Is the dying darkness on a trap a function of time boiling, amount of bark in the mix, the time soaking in the boiled mixture or all/other? Can you save the dying mixture for a short time period say a week/two or do you need to start over with a new batch? If you dump the mixture on your grass will it kill the grass? And finally, how soon should you wax the traps after dying them?

Thanks again

-Michael
 

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Michael,

Glad you had some good success with the Maple Bark.

My traps always come out very black from my Maple Bark dyeing process.

Assuming that you have a good quantity of bark shavings (Strip the bark off right down to the white wood of the log), then boiling for 20 to 30 minutes should give you a very good dye solution.

I throw the bark in first then add the traps and finally the water.

Probably the biggest factor that determines the darkness of the traps is whether they have a slight coating of rust. Traps that have been conditioned by letting them rust slightly will take on a very dark color. New traps I simply wash down good with straight vinegar and then toss them out on the grass for a few days. This will give them a nice light coating of rust.

I keep my dye solution all season and redo my traps as needed. You should dump it out before it freezes solid in the container so it doesn't damage the container. Or you can put a log in the contain that stick out the top to protect it from damage caused by the water freezing. The ice pushes up around the log and relieves most of the pressure on the container. (An old farm trick.)

The solution will not harm the grass.

The best way to wax traps is to purchase enough wax to fill a small metal bucket, say 10 or 15 pounds of trap wax. Then carefully heat up the wax and dip your traps into this melted hot wax one trap at a time. It is best to have the trap fairly dry before dipping them into the hot wax, because the wax will foam up otherwise due to the water boiling off. A little water on the trap will not be a problem, but wait until the wax stops foaming before removing the trap.

I normally wax my traps immediately after they come out of the hot dyeing solution, while they are still somewhat warm and most of the water has evaporated.

Good Luck!
 

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I have a few more dying/waxing questions if you wouldn’t mind answering.
For touching up the dye on traps, do you heat up the maple bark solution or just soak the traps in a cold mixture?
For waxing, can you melt the wax on/in heated water and pull your traps through the wax layer or do you have to have a pan of just wax? Is there any specific type of wax that works better than another kind? Any suggestions for a place to buy cheap wax?
Thanks in advance!
-Michael
 

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Michael, I do not have the "answers," but I have a few meager suggestions after doing all of the above as a trapper for over five decades in the trap preparation department.

Maple sapling bark, or fall leaves (not green,) are used for trap "dye" by a few. It is a good natural dye, and can render near black, but not quite as black as that from sumac berries or black walnut hulls from my personal experience.

Slightly rusted, clean traps can take a natural "dye" on in a cold solution - it takes longer. I always boil mine. Why wait or fuss?

After the traps are dyed, in my opinion, it is best to have a separate wax pot independent of melting it on top of your boiling dye water. That is an old school method suggested in a Fur, Fish and Game article by somebody back in the early 1950's as I recall. I tried it once and concluded that wax and water do not mix, even if both are "hot."

The quality and integrity of the wax job, so to speak, with that method does not compare to waxing traps in a separate wax pot. Period. Maybe Dave can back me up on this.

Keep asking questions. I may have a few more answers or two from my experiences with trap preparation in evidence after 55 years of doing it.

Help me with this, Dave.

Jonathan
 

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-Michael

For touching up the dye on traps, do you heat up the maple bark solution or just soak the traps in a cold mixture?
As Jonathan indicated, dyeing with a cold solution will work, but it is not nearly as effective. Besides, when canine trapping you will want to use a boiling dye solution to make sure that your dirty traps from catches, which have come off the line are good and clean, before using them again.

The cold treatment process would probably be OK for traps coming off the line that did not catch anything. Just soak them for a while and then hang them up to dry and you will not have to wax them again either. But if they are handled properly and not contaminated with an unusual odor, then recycling used traps that never had a catch would be just fine without treating them again.

For waxing, can you melt the wax on/in heated water and pull your traps through the wax layer or do you have to have a pan of just wax?
The melted wax on top of your dye solution will work and I have used it during my first years trapping back 52 years ago. The quality of the wax job is much inferior to dipping a trap in a bucket of just melted wax and I would only use this method to treat your water traps, if you feel like you want to wax them.

To get a reasonable wax job from the wax on top of the dye solution method, you need to let the solution stop boiling, before you pull the traps up through the wax. But even then you will get some water trapped under the wax in various corners of the trap.

Is there any specific type of wax that works better than another kind?
The best trap wax is obtained from a reliable trapping supply business. It is made from de-scented bee wax and probably about 25% paraffin added.

It is possible to make your own wax by using paraffin wax, but unless you add some bees wax, it will be too brittle and not hold up during cold weather.

I have over the years made my own wax using paraffin and bees wax, which I added some pine pitch to and it work just fine. But you will be better off to spend the money and buy some ready made trapping wax in the first place. It will last for years and you will only have to add a small amount every few years to replace what is used up during the coating of your traps, which is a fairly small amount.

Any suggestions for a place to buy cheap wax?
Checking a few trapping supply catalogs, it appears that good trapping wax is going for about $3.00 per lb., which is not cheap, but it will give you a much superior wax job over just using straight paraffin wax. If you want, you could try adding some cheap paraffin wax to the trapping wax, but I still would not add more than 25% paraffin by weight to the trapping wax that you purchase.

Good Luck on you upcoming Trapline!
 

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Hey all, I'm new to the forum, and trapping, and I need some clarification with the dying process.

I haven't dyed my traps yet, however, my buddy and I dyed his a few weeks ago. We basically took a big lobster pot, on a cooking crane, over an open flame to boil the traps. From there, we let the traps and water come to a rolling boil, and after about a half hour or so hung them up to spot rust. After spot rusting, we realized that maple leaves contained tannin, which we thought would work for a dye. Sure enough, boiling the leaves gave his traps a "moderate" black dye. My question is, are the leaves just as effective as the bark, or would the bark produce a darker dye?

Also, I'm using mainly Connibear traps, which I'm not going to wax obviously. I have several Sleepy Creek #1.5 footholds that are ONLY going to be used for muskrat. Should I still wax these footholds if they're going to be under water when on the trapline?

Thanks in advance for any help!

- "Jethrowe"
 

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Dying and Waxing. The dying process will be with Black Walnuts. The Waxing process is using a homemade double boiler.
Here are the traps cleaned and rusted for DYING




Black Walunts gathered last fall....


Black walnuts and water in the dye pot


Traps being added to dye pot


Dyed traps


WAXING

Double boiler made from a pop corn tin and a pot with traps being added






Waxed traps being taken out...



Fuzzy picture of a wsxed trap


Waxed traps drying...



Hope this helps thoses who want to do it with out any hazardous chemicals. I add some cedar broughs to my wax also, a tip I recieved from Asa Lennon.

This post goes hand in hand with the cleaning post http://www.trapperman.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1459836.html#Post1459836

Tom
 
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